Danedri Thompson
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Members of the Gardner Edgerton High School Boys Soccer team don’t know how to quit, according to Head Coach Andy Weber. He hopes that drive translates into a regional championship.
“Every year we set a team goal to become Regional Champions and that goal drives us again this year,” he said. “We also desire to make an immediate impact in our new league, the (Eastern Kansas League) EKL.”
Last year, the squad finished the season 11-6-1, locking more wins than in any season in school history. GEHS started its soccer program in 2005. The 2009 team also boasted a senior who was the career goal scorer and career points leader in school history.
“We did lose some key players…The reality is, this will occur nearly every year,” Weber said. “Losing crucial seniors is a problem every program deals with. So we simply thank them for their contributions and move on with our incoming players.”
This season, the squad will look to Senior Captain Derek Haenisch to carry the load offensively and senior captain Thomas Speers to run the show in the backfield.
“Both of these players have voluntarily played positions necessary for team success even though they aren’t their primary positions,” Weber said. “We’re also excited some of our Freshmen: Andrew Dittemore at Goalie and Luke Fischer at Center Back are immediate impact players.”
The squad lost its first game to Shawnee Mission North 1-0. Although the scoreboard didn’t end up the way the coach or players would’ve liked, Weber said the squad played with heart and emotion. Soccer Captain Center Andrew Hurd was killed in a vehicle accident last week, and a game Aug. 31 was the team’s first without him.
“The guys miss his leadership and friendship but have been very mature in their approach to honoring Andrew’s memory,” Weber said. “They have chosen to fulfill his legacy and strive to display the same attributes that they loved and respected about Andrew.  He was an outstanding young man who has made a positive life-long impact on our players.  We are a better group
of men and work hard every day at training…just as Andrew did for us.”
Team members hope the training will pay off during future games and especially when they meet Louisburg later this year.
“We have developed a competitive rivalry with Louisburg…so we look forward to that game,” he said. “Last year’s league title came down to our game with them.  We’re still a bit bitter over the 1-0 loss and look forward to them coming to Gardner again this year.”